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Brazil: Uncertainty Grows

Consumers in Brazil are growing worried about the future, which will likely cool down the once-hot retail sector.


SÃO PAULO – Early indications that 2008 would be another bumper year for credit and spending have receded slightly in Brazil as the financial crisis caused the real to plummet and prompted fears of higher interest rates and tightened rules on borrowing, industry analysts and experts said.

The immediate effects are yet to be felt but Brazilians who had their hands on their wallets are opting to keep them in their pockets until the true extent of the crisis is known.

"I had plans to buy a computer at the end of the year but I’m thinking twice now," says Cassiano Couto, an assistant salesman here in São Paulo. “I work for a U.S. medical supplies company and there are rumors the company has been affected. I am afraid of being fired."

Other consumers have similar fears. Brazil’s economy might look sturdy compared to the U.S. and Europe – the Brazilian government predicts growth of between 3.8 and 4 percent in 2009 and Morgan Stanley predicts 2 percent, either of which exceed U.S. forecasts – but the consumers who were...

Keywords:  Autos, Brazilian Electrical and Electronics Industry Association, Electronics , Mortgages, Real Estate



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